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Mardi Gras Party Ideas

Can’t Make It to NoLa? Bring Bourbon Street to You!

Gold mardi gras mask and beads

Dousing yourself in extravagant beads and masks may seem gaudy to some, but in New Orleans, it’s pretty ordinary.  Ask any NoLa local: the bigger, the better when it comes to Fat Tuesday festivities.  Mardi Gras can easily be described as a cultural phenomenon:  music, entertainment, food, parades and celebrations for a nearly a month or longer.  If you can’t attend the NoLa festivities this year, why not bring Bourbon Street to your block? Here’s a look at everything you’ll need to throw the ultimate Mardis Gras party…


The Backstory of Bourbon Street

Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday”, which refers to the day before Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent).  The flamboyancy of the festival began as a preface to Lent (the 40 days of penance prior to Easter Sunday). The idea was for the people to celebrate by excessively eating, drinking and being merry in preparation of the 40 days of sacrifice.  Mardi Gras is celebrated throughout the world, but internationally, it’s more commonly known as Carnival.

The traditional colors of Mardi Gras are purple, gold and green, which signify justice, power and faith, respectively. Rex, the king of carnival, handpicked the customary colors in 1892, at the suggestion of the visiting Grand Duke of Russia.  Since then, millions of purple, gold and green beads and coins have been tossed throughout the streets of New Orleans.

Let’s Get The Party Started

It doesn’t need to be Fat Tuesday to party like it is! Mardi Gras celebrations include a variety fun traditions that are sure to make your party a hit. You’ll need electrifying music, good eats, colorful masks and tons of beads.  Bring Bourbon Street home and host a “N’awlins” inspired Mardi Gras party for your friends and family.

blues resize

How to Charm Your Guests

  • To liven up the crowd, hire a Jazz Band or Blues Band to fill your party with the smooth sounds of NoLa.
  • In the spirit of extravagance, consider booking a Brazilian or Mardi Gras Entertainer to help loosen up your guests and get their feet moving! 
  • Instead of splurging on a photographer, rent a Photo Booth to capture the memories of your first hometown Mardi Gras.

gorgeous woman in mask

Get Into The Spirit

Masquerades and Mardi Gras go hand-in-hand.  DIY masks are all good and well, but why not think outside-the-box this Mardi Gras season? Consider inviting a Face Painter or Make-Up Artist to paint on your disguise.  A little glam goes a long way, at any age!

Coins, beads, cups and a variety of other trinkets are often thrown into the streets from the parade floats or the balconies on Bourbon St.  Your local party supply store is sure to be stocked with most of these Mardi Gras staples.  Grab a few “throws” as the locals call them, they are perfect party favors!

As far as decor goes,  start with themed colors: anything purple, gold and green will work.  Consider having bowls or vases full or beads or even hang beads from the light fixtures.  Have fun with it, get extravagant, there’s no such thing as too much when it comes to Mardi Gras.

 Mardi Gras

Indulge in NoLa Cuisine

Though the parties and parades are not to be missed, the best part of New Orleans may very well be the food! Bring in a Caterer or Personal Chef to serve up some cajun cooking.  Gumbo, jambalaya and shrimp & grits are a few staples when it comes to Creole dishes, but if you’re going for finger food, mini po’boys, hushpuppies and king cake are great options. Last, but most definitely not least, are the drinks! Bring in a Bartender to make sure the drinks stay flowing and the party lasts all night (age-permitting, of course).  Get a taste of the Big Easy by sipping on a classic festive cocktail, like a New Orleans Hurricane.

Still not sure who to book or don’t have the time to plan a party? Bring on an Event Planner to ease the process and guarantee a night of hassle-free festivities.  Which ever way you decide to go, we’re wishing you peace, love & gumbo at your next Mardi Gras bash!

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Have everybody throw on a mask, grab some beads, and get ready to party! You don't have to be on Bourbon Street to have the time of your life. All you need is friends, fun, food, and a whole lot of alcohol! Lent is just around the corner so hurry up and indulge while you can!
Mardi Gras: Throw a Party Big Easy Style!

Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday originated to allow those who participated in the religious season of Lent to eat, drink, and be merry before the fasting season began. The largest Mardi Gras celebration is actually in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; this may come as a surprise since many believe it to be New Orleans. If you can’t make it to Rio or New Orleans for Mardi Gras, be sure to throw the Mardi Gras party that will be the talk of the town! You aren’t limited to throwing a Mardi Gras party on Fat Tuesday alone; many people like to theme other parties throughout the year with Mardi Gras. Here are some Mardi Gras party tips from us here at GigSalad.

Fat Tuesday Time

The three colors of Mardi Gras are green, purple, and gold. Be sure to incorporate this color scheme into your Mardi Gras party decorations. You can make balloon archways in the colors, decorate the tables with colored flowers, or decorate with the fleur de lis. Some great party favors are masks, beads, and colorful boas. Most of these items can incorporate the Mardi Gras colors and are fun items for the guests to have. The masks and beads are also part of the tradition of Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras is a rather extravagant holiday since it is a party before a fasting season. Your entertainment should match the extravagance and personality of the holiday itself. Circus entertainment like stilt walkers, aerialists, and magicians are all viable options for entertainment. Another fun, interactive form of entertainment would be to have face painters or airbrush artists. They can paint fun Mardi Gras designs on your guests. If you’re having a family friendly party, face painters and magicians are two good ways to keep the kids entertained.

The Feast Before the Fast

There are many traditions associated with Mardi Gras. One of which is the King Cake! The King Cake is a bakery delicacy topped with colored powdered sugar - purple, green, and gold, of course! Originally, these cakes would contain a plastic baby Jesus to symbolize the tradition of the holiday. To incorporate this tradition, you can hire a cake decorator or do-it-yourself by baking an item into something as simple as a cupcake. Whoever finds the item in their treat will then become the King and Queen of Mardi Gras! You’ll just need to be sure to designate which cakes are for the ladies and which are for the gentlemen. Also, be sure to get crowns as a party favor so everyone knows who the king and queen are.

What would a party be without food and drinks? Decadent food and delicious beverages are what Mardi Gras is all about! The food at Mardi Gras is extravagant and excessive. For a Mardi Gras party, you may be best off having a caterer. Creole and cajun foods are common for Mardi Gras parties.

Also, it isn’t Mardi Gras without a steady flow of Hurricanes, and I’m not talking about the natural disaster! One drink you will find flowing freely on the streets of New Orleans or at any Mardi Gras celebration is the Hurricane. You’ll want to have a bartender there to create these delicious drinks for your guests. Should your event be more family oriented you can do a form of this fruity drink without the liquor.

Jazz It Up!

Every Mardi Gras event needs some music to liven up the party! Set the mood for the party with some New Orleans style entertainment, such as, cajun, zydeco, jazz, or brass bands. Any of these types of bands will make it feel like you’re really celebrating down in the Big Easy. Even if you have something as simple as a sax or trumpet player, it helps set the tone for the party.

If you want to go all out for your Mardi Gras celebration, the most reasonable option may be to get an event planner. The planner can handle everything from booking entertainment to food and beverage. If you just want to keep it low key, you can find many Mardi Gras decorations, beads, and masks at your local party store. As always, you can book all your entertainment and event services on GigSalad!